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October 29, 2007

Will blog for clothing

A friend of ours in Montreal knit the Mistress of Chaos a sweater, but only would hand it over if a photo of the little girl wearing it appeared on this blog. I was not there, so I played no part in these negotiations; and unfortunately my wife readily agreed. Had I been there, I would have told her that the dedicated staff at Autonomous Source do not take requests, and we do not accept compensation for doing the bidding of others. The only exceptions have been for Tom Flanagan, the oil companies, Karl Rove, and the international Zionist lobby.

But my wife did agree, so here's the photo:

It is a nice sweater. But it's still much less than my usual rate. I'll have to talk to my wife...

June 09, 2007

Musette

On Thursday, we had to let our sweet, elderly dog go. After fifteen years, she could barely walk, was incontinent, and was almost incapable of getting to her feet. But she still seemed to enjoy life, so it was a difficult decision. She ate greedily and could still prance about (somehow) when she was excited.

Pico cat will miss her, and so will the rest of the family.

May 15, 2007

Quebec can't play hockey

It is still unclear who has the greatest street hockey team, but this weekend did at least resolve that it ain't Quebec. Due to a influx of new players this season, there was an expansion team added to the league and some trading before the games began. Three teams set out to play a grueling two game schedule.

(Continued in the extended entry...)

Continue reading "Quebec can't play hockey" »

August 26, 2006

The circle of life

It's happened. I'm a parent. Yesterday I found myself herding my children through one of those bad roadside attractions of the type I remember visiting when I was a little boy. The place was Storyland, located about an hour west of downtown Ottawa. It features an odd collection of ancient statuary, an ancient mini-golf course, a half-dozen peddle-boats (yes, ancient) in a stagnant pond, one of those big, air-filled jumpy things, a couple of oversized sprinklers and one of the biggest backyard water slides that Wal-Mart sells. And it's all operated by a dozen high school students wearing badly maintained costumes.

Unfortunately for me, Max and Talia were having the time of their life. Which means I spent over five hours there. Which meant I promised to take them back...

August 11, 2006

Robert Lajzerowicz

My wife's father, and Max and Talia's Opa, died this morning at the age of 71 after a long battle with cancer.

I can still see the suspicious and serious look he gave me when we first met. I was the unemployed, uneducated, 21 year old in the ripped jeans and black leather jacket dating his high-achieving 17 year old daughter. And I didn't even know enough to stand up when when I shook his hand.

But despite this friction in our early relationship, he helped me get my first real job at Northern Telecom, which inspired me to go back to school to study engineering. As the years passed, we grew closer. And when I finally graduated, he also got me my first professional job at Newbridge Networks.

Though I never shared his love of fishing and hunting, we shared many opinions and attitudes. Like myself, Robert was married to a strong woman that dominates conversation, so that in family gatherings we both often found ourselves on the periphery of the discussion -- which we didn't mind. But when we needed to interject a point that the women had overlooked, we often backed each other up to make our voices heard.

Robert was a good man, and provided a lot of guidance to me in my life. Everyone in this house is going to miss him. But we're never going to forget him.

August 08, 2006

We are all Mushrooms now

No, I don't know what the title means. These are some mushrooms the kids and I found the other day. (Larger pic.)

July 03, 2006

The new playgrounds

A year ago I lamented that playgrounds in the suburbs were now virtually abandoned and tried to figure out why it was. And -- whoops, Talia just poured chocolate milk all over herself and the floor -- now I know: they're all at McDonald's. At many McDonald's restaurants they now have some of the most elaborate play structures I've ever seen. And they usually have at least half a dozen pre-schoolers crawling all through them.

I'm in one of them right now. They also offer free wi-fi if you spend three bucks -- or just a coffee and a couple of milks. It's easy to understand why they're so popular. You get the kids out of the dangerous sun and an unpredictable open space into a fluorescent lit chamber with only one exit. Treats and a bathroom are conveniently nearby, and there's always the change your child might get injured allowing you to get rich at the expense of a weathly corporation. What's not to like?

June 19, 2006

Canadian Blogfest '06

Well, Darcey, Ian, Les, the Zerb, and Right Girl have already offered their accounts of what happened that night, but I think they all may have been drinking heavily and got a few things wrong. So it's up to me to offer the definitive account, so that when the Post Office gets around to making a Heritage Minute spot on the event, it'll be accurate.

We met at Fiddler's Green, a Irish-ish Pub in the center of Boystown, Toronto's answer to Castro Street in San Francisco. For some reason, I had the address wrong and wound up wandering Church street looking confused for some time. Now I'm generally a flashy dresser (see the photo below to find out just how radiantly cool I was that evening) so I caught quite a few deep searching glances being directed my way. As a man, I wasn't used to it. Now I can understand the uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability that women in wet T-shirt competitions must bear.

I arrived fashionably late, and was introduced to about twelve people, only remembering the name of Right Girl because she was introduced to me last. Her -- husband? boyfriend? -- who goes by the name of Must-Control-Fist-of-Death and some of their groupies were also there. Others present were Mike, Lisa, and Mapmaster from the London Fog, some guy with a mustache that I unfortunately forgot the name of (it may have been this guy), Kate from the Last Amazon, Darcey of course, and Publius from Gods of the Copybook Headings.

Arriving even later than I were Ian Scott, Bob Tarantino of the defunct Let It Bleed, Les from Spiderman's Web, Chris Taylor and his girlfriend (whose name I also forgot), Fenris Badwulf and the Mayor from Mitchieville, a few frequent commenters that I didn't know, a deranged electrician, and the Zerb!

For those of you unfamiliar with my blog, I must mention that Antonia Zerbisias won my prestigious Most Annoying Canadian competition for 2004, beating out the highly annoying Canadian Tire Guy and even Sheila Copps. Had I known she was coming I would have had a trophy made to present to her. But at least I got this photo of us together:

Photo by Right Girl, who will never be another Annie Leibovitz.

Conversation never stopped, though I have few strong recollections of topics. Fenris and the electrician told some stories of what goes on in Big Box stores that are definitely not Wal-Mart in the middle of the night. A secret society was formed. (Whoops! No it wasn't.) Sweeping generalizations were made. Autobiographies were told.

Alcohol was consumed. This I'm pretty sure of. I myself drank plenty of beer, a couple of Rusty Nails, several single-malt scotches, a Johnny Walker Red (this after Chris Taylor spoke of his contempt for it), more beer, and later some red wine. All this over the course of ten hours. I may have been a little tipsy at moments in the evening, but I couldn't catch Darcey:

With Darcey is Kelly, our tireless server. I have similar photos of Darcey groping many other women that evening, but I'll keep them private if I'm well compensated.

We left sometime around midnight. I must respond to this comment by Ian:

It was finally time to end the gathering - and after another whisker rub from Darcey, we all walked off to wherever we were going - not sure where Bruce ended up… not sure I should even ask.. but - isn’t it ironic that it was the libertarians who were helping the "law and order" conservatives be personally responsible for their actions??
I think he's referring to Darcey's and my plan to walk the streets... with open bottles of beer in our hands!! Mapmaster and Lisa were the libertarians who tried to dissuade us. I couldn't believe that Toronto was that much of a police state. I figured that if we walked down Church Street amongst all the colourful folk there, no cop would dare stop us -- especially with me wearing such a fabulous shirt. But they were very adamant and we relented. (And who is Ian calling a "law and order" conservative?)

I also have to respond to this from him:

And Bruce is a funny and interesting guy! But, his wife might want to give me a call so we can discuss some weird fascinations he seems to have with certain parts of Toronto.
I really don't think being interested in going to a gay karaoke bar for drinks at midnight on a Saturday is a 'weird fascination'. It's perfectly normal curiousity.

Lisa, Mapmaster, Darcey and I joined Kate at her home, where we continued to converse on many different topics. Until 3:00 that is, when I realized I was the last one talking and everyone else was nodding off. I excused myself and made my way to my hotel, which was thankfully right around the corner.

Thanks to everyone for a great evening, and I will definitely try to make it again should another one get planned. Give me a little time to recover, though.

June 09, 2006

Putting the parodists out of business

The Ontario government seems intent on creating the goofiest and most extreme nanny-state the world has yet seen. Today I spotted an ad campaign that admonishes citizens to wash their hands.

What's next? Telling us to change our underwear regularly because you never know when you'll get hit by a bus?